Whether you're a beginning model or have been modeling for a while, it is important to keep an updated portfolio. You should generally have an online portfolio, this can be to an extent on social media like Instagram but even better if you can have a website. My online portfolio is www.ellaroseofficial.com if you would like to check it out.
For a basic portfolio, there are several specific types of shots that are important to show an agency, designer, or photographer your ability to show emotion on camera. Think of modeling as captivating without speaking.
If you will be visiting agencies in person, you should have a printed portfolio that you can take with you. Traditionally, in the modeling industry, your printed photos and book should be 9" by 12". For quality pictures of this size, I personally use mpix.
The first photo in your portfolio should be a beauty headshot. This is with minimal makeup and jewelry and expected to show the model how they would show up to a shoot. This is photographed from the shoulders up. If you plan to be an editorial model (fashion) then the shot should not be smiling (first photo). Commercial models shots can be smiling (right photo). I have agencies for both types, so I have both.
Full Length Body Shot
The next photo in your portfolio should be a full length body shot. This shot allows the client or agency to see your body type and proportions. Clothing should be form fitted and simple. You can choose a black tank top and jeans or something more exciting, but no dresses or layers that hide your shape.
If you are 16 and up, you will want to have a swimsuit photo. Keep in mind that the usual goal of a model is to book a high end magazine or fashion catalog, so classy is best. Try to envision what you would see in a swimwear magazine.
Editorial Fashion Shots
This is wear you can have some fun. Editorial fashion shoots are meant to be interesting and artistic. Many of the shoots you will be paid to do will be considered editorial/fashion shoots. You can get a number of these under your belt and really show off your ability to move on camera and express yourself with your body and face.
If you're just starting out, you can create these using a product or clothing of your choice. Try to think of a commercial advertisement on social media, billboard, or magazine. You want to show that you look convincing to an audience and "sell" what your advertising. Once you start to get hired for these photo shoots, you will want to add these to your portfolio.
Is that it?
The short answer is no. Make sure your portfolio is a good representation of your face and body. You want to have a wide display of your emotional capabilities and looks. Make sure you have a good profile pick as well.
Your portfolio should be a work in progress. You will constantly want to add and change your photos as you become a more experienced model. Remember that quality is better than quantity. Don't try to just fill up your book/website. Try to focus on the quality photos that really stand out to you.
Modeling can be difficult at times because you have to constantly critique yourself. Believe me, I can find flaws and things I don't like about any of my photos. However, I love what I do, so I just keep trying! If you have a passion for modeling go for it. I believe you can do it and so should you!